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tv   Washington Journal Matthew Dallek  CSPAN  January 14, 2019 12:50am-1:22am EST

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former senate staffer having worked for john cornyn. -- he alsoked within worked with governor rick perry. he has also been a federal prosecutor. day and taylor represents the third district. he was previously a member of the texas legislature. serving in the state house and senate before his political career he saw combat in iraq as a member of the u.s. marine corps. and in the six district, ron wright succeeded joe barton for whom he had once worked as both chief and district director. he was on his career, the city council of arlington, texas. new congress, new leaders, watch it all on c-span. >> the government shutdown is in its make their day. watch the house monday live at noon eastern on c-span.
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the senate live at 3:00 p.m. eastern on c-span two. we welcome back matthew dallek, professor at george washington university in the political -- in the graduate program of political management. let's talk about this idea of a national emergency. what qualifies for that? guest: it is what the president says it is. 1970 six national emergency act, there is no single definition. 1976 national- emergency act, there is no single definition. historically, things like -- applyingiffs sanctions, terrorist attacks, the president declared -- president obama declared a national emergency during the swine flu. is up to the president and that is why so many people are concerned about
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this unlimited authority the president seems to have when it comes to declaring a national emergency. -- what other arguments are the arguments you have been hearing? basically turning the senate into the house of representatives. it president trump does declare a national emergency, what would prevent a democratic president from declaring a national emergency for health care or gun violence or other issues? guest: the courts. congress does have a path to overturn the emergency. the problem is both houses would have to pass a resolution. the president would presumably veto it and they would have to override the veto. it is highly unlikely to happen. politics, public opinion, the courts could all conceivably step in. not necessarily on the grounds
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of what constitutes a national emergency. they could step in and say that the remedies that the president has proposed, in this case appropriating funds from the that he isof defense not allowed to do that, that this is unconstitutional, he is doing an end-run around congress. and is yet to be determined no one knows what the supreme court would do or say. host: this is a chart from cnn. this would be the 32nd national emergency. 31 already remain active in the u.s., dating back to jimmy carter. guest: what happens is under the 76 act, presidents every year have to renew the emergency. in a sense, when george w. bush signed a national order and declared an emergency after
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9/11, he continued every year to renew it. barack obama renewed it, president trump has renewed it. year after year, it gets renewed. congress could step in theoretically but has never done it. a lot of experts who look at act which was6 designed as part of these to reinergate reforms in presidential power, it has failed. not just 130ceded plus provisions that a president can activate, but also provided no effective oversight for what constitutes a national emergency. host: walk us through the process. if tomorrow, the president declares a national emergency to begin construction, we would he get the money from? what would the courts do and what could congress to? guest: we are in uncharted
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waters. this would be the president saying in a battle with congress saying i cannot get this done, therefore i am going to do an end-run around congress. there would be a national emergency and he would attempt to either from the department of defense, unallocated funds or use a different provision that would take money designated for natural disaster recovery and tried to use those funds to build a wall. pretty soon, they would be a couple of things that would happen. andhouse might take action tried to pass a resolution overturning it but parties affected by the attempt to build the wall would begin to file lawsuits and these could be people who hold property on the property might be
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seized under eminent domain. there may be environmental concerns. democrats in congress could file. there would be a slew of legal challenges. my guess is that it would take months if not years to resolve. it would ultimately end up in there aree court and many different opinions from legal experts about whether this would withstand legal scrutiny, whether this order would stand. some say the president could do this and get away with it other say no. the reality is the supreme court 5-4 conservative majority would have to decide the matter. host: if all that were to take place, could the wall construction begin or would that be put on hold? guest: it is unknown question.
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-- it is an unknown question. the logistical hurdles are massive. issues,e environmental topographical issues, eminent domain issues. my sense is that it is hard to see how in practice this wall is going to be built. in theory, if the courts uphold the national emergency that trump declares and if you were but i reelection, then ok saw one estimate that said it would take 10 years to build the wall. the idea that construction would start tomorrow, the day after he declares the emergency, my guess is that some court somewhere would probably stop the construction of the wall while this issue was being litigated. this would drag on. we should think of it in terms
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of the politics. the president to go to his base and say the courts are blocking me but i am doing everything i can. that would be a kind of political answer to give to this political policy problem that he has created. host: our guest is matthew dallek, a professor at george washington university. our phone lines are open. we want to hear from you. (202)-748-8000 is the line for democrats. (202)-748-8001 for republicans. (202)-748-8002 for independents. you can also send us a tweet. the president traveling to the border on thursday and before departing he had to this -- he had this to say. [video clip] >> i have the absolute right to declare a national emergency. i am not prepared to do that yet but if i have to i will. i have the right to declare
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this. when you say was it passed by congress, it was. other presidents have used this, not terribly often. i have the absolute right to declare a national emergency. i have not done it yet. i may do it. if this does not work out, i probably will. what debate do you think is going on internally? we have heard jared kushner advising his father-in-law not to do it. we have heard other senators like lindsey graham say go for it. guest: my sense is that there is a dynamic which is hard to know who trump is listening to. he governs in this chaotic way. my guess is that there are a number of conservatives who have said they worry about the precedent this sets. you raise the question what happens if there is a democratic president in office?
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a democratic president could say climate change is a national emergency. public health. national single-payer -- national single-payer health care. anything the congress does not give the president, the president can in turn possibly declare an emergency and tried to do that. others are saying look, we are losing this fight politically, a majority of the public is against shutting down the government. people are hurting all over the country, not just federal employees but also farmers and ranchers and recipients of government aid. this is a way out. let the courts deal with it. a certain your power and then you can kind of move on, say to your supporters that you are doing your utmost to the fill your campaign pledge. lawyers whoe are
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are advising, here are the authorities you have and maybe you can't do it. there is a robust internal legal debate as well and it is kind of chaotic the cousin we are in a pretty unprecedented zone. , at: one of the opponents republican from texas saying i am opposed to using defense dollars for nondefense purposes. it seems to me we ought to fund border security needs on their own and not take it from other accounts. let's get to your phone calls. susan in florida. caller: thank you for taking my call. i had a couple questions and a comment. number one, i do not feel that any president should have this much power, regardless of side. we are looking like an authoritarian dictatorship. secondly, can someone please differentiate between the words
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immigrant, migrant, refugee/asylum seeker. i believe as far as i know, there are differences and they are being used interchangeably by everybody across the board. i would like to see some more accuracy on that. as far as the emergency situation, i don't see it as an emergency situation on the border but i do blame both sides for having ignored immigration policy. after world war ii -- i am an immigrant, i was barely seven when i came here. right after world war ii, america did not just take everybody in. they took so many people from they just whend you are going to argentina, you
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are going here or there. you could not come here without a sponsor in america who paid who paid for our lodging, food, medical, anything until my father got on his feet and he was able to support us. i don't know when that changed. i think we need to hit a happy medium here. it is not a good situation. host: thank you, we will get a response. caller: to the -- guest: to the first point about the power of the state, the fear that a dictator will take over, i think that what we are seeing now is that previously the expectation among the public was that presidents would be restrained in when they declared emergencies. if it looks like a duck and
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walked like a duck, it was a duck and everyone will recognize an emergency and the powers that be would be deployed to deal with that emergency. under trump, there is a growing fear and there has always been this fear of authoritarian dictatorship, that someone take over, but those fears have really ratcheted up quite drastically because trump has seemed to avoid or tear down so many of the guard rails. expressesn the caller is valid. in terms of the immigration system, partly what we are seeing now, if you put it into context, a deep sense of frustration across the board that immigration reform has not happened over decades. george w. bush came in and gave an address saying he was going
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to reform immigration. barack obama campaigned twice on widespread immigration reform. pretty nativist campaign said that he was going to build a wall and yet the last major immigration reform was in the mid-1980's. what we are seeing is a kind of to gettingproblem comprehensive immigration reform done that would include border include whatalso to do about the millions of undocumented immigrants, the dreamers, the children who were brought here. this is part of a much longer debate and it goes back much ander into american history we are seeing a moment of restriction is him -- restrictionism.
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host: you can follow our guest on twitter. matthew dallek, a professor at george washington university. a couple tweets and then back to your phone calls. has decided the senate is just a branch of the white house instead of congress being a coequal branch. congress can override president trump but open -- and open the government but mcconnell will not allow it. the parasites, the illegals, they are freeloading and the wall is what americans who did him in for. if donald can claim a national aergency about the wall, soon-to-be democratic president could declare a national emergency on health care. guest: one of the most interesting dynamics of the republicans in congress. there are a handful in the senate who are up for reelection
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in 2020 in places like colorado ,nd north carolina and maine and they are vulnerable. they have come out and said we don't think the government should be shut down, we think we should reopen and then debate about border security, but we don't think we should hold the government in a sense hostage to whether or not we build a wall. so far it has only been a handful of republicans on that. we have seven -- we have seen seven to 10 republicans vote with democrats in the house to reopen the government. the question is whether or not at some point of that dam will break because republicans will realize trump is losing this fight. i am not of -- i am not optimistic because republicans see their own political prospects now but more importantly in 2020 as deeply entwined with trump.
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that is why we are seeing mitch mcconnell say essentially i'm going to do whatever trump wants to do on this. host: next call is duane, republican line. caller: good morning. problem with your guest. i am watching what he said and he has not said the was were illegal immigrants. the politician in the news media like to focus on but they are illegal. what happens when you bring illegal people with no paperwork with them? they don't have the ability to speak the language. they put a tax on everybody else. host: we will get a response.
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guest: the way i would look at it is there is a humanitarian crisis. primarily from the reporting, you have families who are fleeing places like honduras where they fear for their lives and they are desperate, worried that a child is going to be killed. they are trying to cross the toder, trying to seek asylum protect them because they are worried about their own safety. it is important to keep in mind studies,ost credible immigrants tend to be very productive for the economy. a number of immigrants are doing jobs that a lot of american citizens don't want to do. that is why a lot of businesses support immigration reform. for we are getting with the tweets in the calls is a sense of how complicated the
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immigration debate is and how divisive our feelings collectively are on this issue and why it is so hard to get comprehensive immigration reform passed. host: a bill signed in 1976 by gerald ford, passed by democrats and republicans in the house and senate. what is the national emergencies act? the act authorizes the president to declare quote, a national emergency, a declaration under any triggers. passed the rations have addressed the imposition of export controls, limitations on transactions and property from specified nations. guest: it was an attempt after watergate to try to rein in the president and when the president can declare an emergency and also specify once an emergency
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is declared, what powers the president intends to use to deal with that emergency. it was also an effort for congress that the president has to renew every year and that congress can overturn the emergency. in practice, it has not worked in congress has not ever reviewed the emergency or overturned an emergency. there was one time since that act was passed by congress really pushed back on a provision. george w. bush wanted to lift federal wage laws in rebuilding after hurricane katrina. there was a uproar in congress and bush rescinded that action. congress has never voted to overturn an emergency. atexample of good intentions reform that have not failed -- that have not worked in practice. host: we welcome our radio audience in the greater washington, d.c. area and on the free c-span radio app.
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our conversation with matthew dallek on the issue of what is a national emergency? bill in cleveland, on our democrat line. caller: good morning. when did that national emergency act -- what was it created for but i guess that was answered. does anybody know what the national emergencies that are declared right now by trump? there are three of them. dothere any thing we can about the republican senate and the republican congress that will not censor anything that orange baby does. nothing. president trump, one of the things he has done is
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renewed some of the emergencies. there are more than 30 that have been in place since jimmy carter was president. one that he declared had to do russianctions against interference in the u.s. election. host: that was september of last year. guest: and that was criticized by a number of democrats for not going far enough. to get a sense that these emergencies and how they are deployed, they are also filtered through a partisan lens. now, and this was not technically an emergency, but i think the most prominent, one of the most prominent executive orders that trump issued was the travel ban early on in his administration. he had to revive that and he
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essentially said we are under imminent threat of having terrorists come in from these particular countries and we've got to ban people from these countries from coming in. and was not declared so far as under the national emergencies act but it gives you a sense of the reach of presidential power he has deployed. host: we should point out that the first one was back in 1979. , jimmy carter's using uranium property after the hostages were taken in that country. lewis joins us from colorado. caller: good morning. law on thisase emergency stuff and i wanted to give that gentleman this case number and that i will hang up and let him talk about it. i wanted to say i have heard a about it aersation
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manufactured or just like any other -- if you talk to the , their young kids are never going to get a paycheck, they are never coming back. even though it is unfortunate, some of these federal workers should remember that. patrolama's chief border that runs the agency under him supports president trump with this. are asking for this, not only for our safety but for there's. this controlling case is versusown sheet and tube sawyer. u.s. 579. according to this person i am quoting here, this legal people, there are some $13.1 billion
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available -- it was supposed to be used for building housing in afghanistan and iraq. people think we can use that here to secure our country on the southern border, i think they would rather do that and help our border patrol agents so they don't get harmed and we don't have all these kids getting sexually assaulted like they were talking about the other day. host: thank you for the call. guest: that case the caller was referring to was a famous case in which harry truman tried to seize the national steel industry during the korean war. he declared in a met -- he declared a national emergency and was concerned about a labor strike and said we have to have the industry up and running in order to prosecute the war in
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korea. the supreme court stepped in and stopped that order and overturned it. justice robert jackson in a famous concurrent laid out the powers of the president. it was one of the rare instances in which the supreme court very strenuously limited presidential powers during an emergency. att case would still be issue if trump were to declare a national emergency. host: bottom line, based on your expertise, what is going to happen? guest: it is hard to see how trump gets out of this box, this political blocs. -- this political box. the national emergency does offer him a way out.
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it allows him to say i'm doing everything i can. i have shut the government down, look at my commitment to this issue. he might prevail in the courts and even if he doesn't, he can run for reelection blaming democrats and the courts and the media, three groups he has blamed repeatedly over the past two years, for blocking the border wall and he can go to the country and say reelect me so i can get the wall done. reelect republicans to get that done. that ultimately seems like the most likely scenario. i don't think the democrats have any incentive to give him very much unless they move a little bit and there is some sort of face-saving way trump can claim he got a down payment on the border wall. host: even the president has said this is very much about 2020. guest: they started running for reelection a couple days after he took office and was very upfront about that.
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about talking about why he is doing certain things. he says this is for border security and that brings up what the last caller said which is part of the debate is whether a wall would be effective. board of -- there are border patrol experts who said it would be ineffective, that most people coming in are coming in through ports of entry, not in this terrain where there should be a wall. but is all part of a debate you can't take the politics out of this debate because it is front and center and i think trump does need to find a way out, especially because as we are seeing the longest government shutdown in history, it has major consequences in the lives of millions of people and they are not all democratic federal employees.
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these are people all across the country and a lot of people are his supporters. and it hurts the economy eventually. host: c-span, where history unfolds daily. c-span was created as a public today we continue to bring you unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court, and public policy events in washington, d.c., and around the country. brought to you by your cable or satellite provider. government shutdown is in its 23rd day, the longest in u.s. history. watch the house monday on c-span . the senate at 3:00 p.m. on c-span2. washington journal, live,
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every day with news and policy issues that impact you. alex from the, cato institute examines the class of migrants known as special interest aliens. and association for career education's stephen dewitt will talk about workforce training. jackie siemon discusses the impact of the government shutdown on federal workers. washington journal live at 7:00 monday morning. join the discussion. host: with us is l.a. times congressional reporter sarah wire. the house next week plans to continue to vote on legislation to fund and reopen parts of the federal government. also planning to debate a $12.1 billion disaster relief funding bill. why is the house democratic leadership bringin

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